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Food for thought: Nourishment for a Healthy Brain
by On March 22, 2017
The food that we eat on a daily basis can affect how we feel, not just physically but mentally as well. Over time, our bodies will inevitably age. But with the right diet, you can ensure you have a healthy brain for a very long time. In fact, it’s been shown that antioxidant-rich foods, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals are essential for a healthy brain. These foods will provide energy and work to prevent certain brain diseases. However, not all health food is created equal. This list is some of the best foods to keep your brain in tip-top shape.

Blueberries

Who doesn’t love blueberries? They are such a tasty little treat, some people refer to them as “nature’s candy”. Plus, they are incredibly good for you because they are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. As a matter of fact, there have been studies that show incorporating blueberries into your diet decreases short term memory loss. In addition, blueberries can help reduce the effects of Alzheimers or dementia.

Egg Yolks

Poor egg yolks have gotten a bad rap in the health world. For years it’s been the belief that only the whites of eggs should be eaten to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But, that’s slowly been changing as we’re becoming more aware of what yolks can offer us. Choline is the main ingredient found in egg yolks, which is especially good for pregnant women. Choline helps aid in the development of a fetus’s brain. Also, egg yolks are important for a healthy brain and can make you happy. It’s true, they break down chemicals that produce hormones linked to happiness.

Salmon

Next, fans of seafood rejoice! Salmon is one of the best foods for a healthy brain. It’s filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which have gained good traction in the health community. Good fats keep your brain running as smoothly as possible, and increase your memory. If you consistently have brain fog, it may be due to a lack of omega-3’s. Plus, wild caught salmon can also help prevent cancer.

Nuts

Similarly, many nuts have omega-3’s in addition to vitamin E. Nuts are another one of those foods that help prevent cognitive decline. That means less chance of getting Alzheimer’s in the future. Additionally, nuts or nut butter is super easy to snack on during the day.

Avocados

Lastly, avocados are up there with blueberries in terms of healthy brain foods. While it’s true that avocados are full of fat, it’s monounsaturated fat which is the healthy kind. The fat found in avocados help with healthy blood flow. Also, they lower blood pressure which is good for a healthy brain.
This is only a short list of the most brain healthy foods. When planning meals, try to get a healthy balance of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
Successful Women in Business
by On March 15, 2017

Meg Whitman

In the business world, women are making themselves known. But it’s not easy to make it to the top, especially for a woman. The gender gap still plays a huge role in today’s world whether we like to admit it or not. However, that doesn’t stop these incredible business women. In honor of International women’s day last week, we decided to highlight just a few business women.

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman has been a huge part of the business realm since the 1980s. She held higher up positions in companies such as Disney, Dreamworks, Proctor & Gamble, and Hasbro. What’s more impressive is that she executed a very high-profile split at Hewlett-Packard, where she was CEO. Now, there are two companies, HP Enterprises which is software and tech services, and HP Inc. whose main focus is on personal computers and printers. Currently, she is the CEO of HP Enterprises and serves on the board for HP Inc. But that’s not all, she is also very political and ran for governor of California in 2010.

Indra Nooyi

With multiple bachelors degrees, an MBA, and a masters degree, Indra Nooyi is a force to be reckoned with. She first joined PepsiCo in 1994 and gradually worked her way up. As a matter of fact, she was named CFO and president by 2001. A mere 6 years later she was named the CEO. In addition, PepsiCo has seen a 72 percent increase in revenue since 2001. Indra Nooyi was the driving force behind acquiring companies such as Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade. Plus, she has consistently made lists for the most powerful women.

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty

Ginni Rometty started her career in business at General Motors Institute after she graduated in 1979. Shortly after, in 1981 she became a systems engineer for IBM at the Detroit office. She has climbed the corporate ladder at IBM, and in 2011 Rometty became the first woman CEO there. Also, the next year Samuel Palmisano retired as chairman, and Rometty took that role as well. She’s been ranked on the top of the 50 most powerful women in business for 10 years.

Abigail Johnson

Last but not least, we’ll take a look at Abigail Johnson, the current CEO, chairman, and president of Fidelity. It’s known that her father Edward, the previous CEO, groomed Abigail from a young age. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s an all around powerhouse. When she first became CEO in 2014, she swiftly cut costs and fired incapable managers. Oh, and did I mention she is one of the wealthiest women in the world?

Left Brain or Right Brain. Which is Better?
by On March 8, 2017

For the most part, the two sides of our brain work differently in the way that information is processed. In fact, most people lean towards one way of thinking more than the other. However, that doesn’t mean that one way is better than the other. But what exactly does it mean to be “left brained” or ” right brained” anyway?

The Lefties

Interestingly, it is said that people who are more logical and analytical favor their left hemisphere. Do you love making lists and planning things out? I know I do. That’s also a characteristic of the left side. Typically, if you’re left brained it means you are skilled at math or science and like sequencing ideas. Also, you’d be more prone to rational thought and make decisions without getting feeling or emotions in the way. Everything has to be well-documented and the left brained likes to read directions. Another interesting trait is that they are dog people. Although, I don’t know how much merit there is to that one. In addition, the lefties also have a different learning style. They enjoy learning in order, or sequences and are very realistic. In a classroom, they like to work by themselves.

The Righties

On the other hand, it is said that those who favor the right brain are the creative ones. And, there is some truth to that. When it comes to planning, they definitely prefer to live more spontaneously. Perhaps the right brained are more disorganized, even. They tend to think and act on their feelings rather than rational thought. In general, they are much more emotional. But, like I said they are more creative. Usually, they’re good at sports, enjoy writing non-fiction, and love music. Not to mention most enjoy creating art in some form or another. A right brained person probably doesn’t like reading directions and solves problems intuitively. Additionally, they are said to be cat lovers. When it comes to learning, they thrive with hands-on activities and with visuals. They love working on projects in groups and interacting with others. Also, they think more about the big picture than the small details.

Two Become One

Reading both lists, I definitely have characteristics of both and wouldn’t necessarily say I’m one or the other. The same is probably true for a lot of people. The key is to strengthen the side of your brain that isn’t favored. Who says you can’t write a non-fiction story if you’re a left brainer. Just like anything, the more you practice the better you’ll become.

Fun company outing ideas
by On March 1, 2017

Team building exercises or the annual company outing doesn’t have to be a drab affair. Does your staff need a little pick me up? Long gone are the days of dreading quality time with your coworkers. Especially since a lot of companies are seeking different and more creative ways to inspire their staff. Not only does a good company outing help your employees bond, but it can help reduce stress around the office. Plus, they’re just plain fun! For some great ideas, check out the list below.

Volunteering

First of all, offering up your services to a cause that may really need it feels spectacular. But sharing that experience with other people is a really great way to bond. In addition, there are so many different organizations out there that you’ll never run out of ideas. For instance, activities that require people to work together include building a house for habitat for humanity. Or, for those animal lovers consider helping out at a local animal shelter.

Who Dun It?

Secondly, a really fun company outing is a mystery dinner. Depending on the size of your company, you may need to go in groups. The idea is that your employees enjoy a great meal, sometimes up to 4 courses, while trying to solve a murder mystery! This is just all around a great company outing, and sparks interesting conversation.

Escape

Next, escape rooms are gaining so much popularity lately. The idea is that a number of people go into a room. There are clues and puzzles that have to be solved within a certain time frame in order to “escape the room”. An escape room is a great bonding experience because you have to work together to solve everything. To up the ante, give a prize to the fastest time!

Kayak

For the outdoorsy type, a kayaking trip can be a great way to work together. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to paddle the right way, and prevent your team from going in circles. Encourage people to kayak with those they don’t normally interact with at work. If you’re interested in something not as fast paced, a canoe might be your cup of tea.

Become a tourist

Yes that’s right, get out there and doing something ultra touristy. Your city may have some great things to offer and you should embrace it. For instance, duck tours are really fun and slightly embarrassing but you’ll probably learn something new. Inspire your staff to be goofy and laugh at themselves.

Get Cooking

Additionally, nothing brings people together quite like food. Instead of making a company outing to a restaurant or bar, have everyone cook for themselves. I’m talking about taking a cooking class! It entails following directions and working together to create something delicious. And, the best part is that when you’re done you get to eat.

Sweat

Get that blood pumping. Organize a company wide yoga session, day hike, or workout. Exercising helps alleviate stress and you feel great afterwards. Also, you’ll find that your staff will encourage each other to succeed and reach their goals.

Do you Remember? Brain Boosting Tips
by On February 22, 2017
I’ve never encountered someone with a perfect memory. Not that I can remember, anyway. Everybody is a little bit different when it comes to memory retention. But there are ways to improve your memory, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting something important.

Workout your Brain 

Firstly, just like a regular workout, you need to stimulate your brain in different ways to keep it healthy. The more time you spend working out your brain, the better your memory will get. However, the activity should be something new to you, that’s how you strengthen your brain. In addition, a great brain exercise will be something that is challenging and requires your full attention. Find activities that start at an easy level, and get progressively more difficult as you improve. Most importantly, find activities that are not only challenging but interesting to you.

Workout your Body

Second, physical exercise is just as important as mental exercise. So don’t neglect the gym! Staying active will ensure that your brain stays sharp. Not only does exercise increase the oxygen to your brain, but it also reduces stress. As a general rule, any sort of exercise that gets your blood pumping is good for your brain. Also, a morning workout can help get rid of morning fog and prep your brain for the rest of the day.

Get to Bed

In order to avoid sleep deprivation, you should be getting a solid 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night. As a matter of fact, getting even a few hours a sleep can negatively affect your memory. For this reason, make a sleep schedule and stick to it. Don’t break your routine, even if it’s a weekend and you feel like sleeping in. Additionally, melatonin is a hormone that makes you sleepy and is suppressed by certain light. Try to avoid any sort of screen such as a TV or phone at least an hour before bed. Also, limit your caffeine intake. Needing caffeine can be a vicious cycle, keeping you up at night but then you might need it to wake up the next day.

Hang Out With Friends

Most people are pretty sociable beings. Some good news for those chatterboxes, meaningful relationships with others is very beneficial to memory retention. In fact, there have been studies that show those with the most active social calendar have a slower rate of memory decline.

De-stress

Not only is stress, well, stressful, but it can also lead to memory loss. Continued stress over a long period of time will destroy brain cells. To combat this, try to focus on one task at a time and don’t forget to relax. Many find solace in meditation which has been said to actually improve memory.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 

It’s true, laughter is great for your emotional health and can help with memory retention. Learn to laugh at your embarrassing moments and share with others. Also, surround yourself with others that can find humor in everything. You know what they say about laughter being contagious.

Diet

For the most part, your diet should consist of a nice balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and of course healthy fats. Eating this way is good for your brain and will help with memory retention.
Successful Family Owned Businesses
by On February 15, 2017
There are a lot more family-owned businesses than you might think. Some of today’s largest companies are owned and operated by families. In fact, over 30% of businesses with sales over $1 billion are family run. However, working with family members isn’t always easy. Companies that are successful got to that point because of hard work and determination. Some say that it shows great maturity if you’re able to work with family. Interestingly, more and more women are taking over family owned businesses. Traditionally, the first born son would take over the business. In this week’s blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most successful family owned businesses.

Walmart

First, Walmart may be the most well-known family business there is. It was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and is still run by the Walton family today. The growth was incredible, and within the first five years, Walmart went from one store in Bentonville, Arkansas to 24 stores all across Arkansas. In addition, Walmart has become one of the top retailers with sales well into the billions.

Nike

Nike was founded by Phil Knight in 1964 and was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports. The company grew into one of the most successful athletic apparel and accessory businesses in the world. In the beginning, employees sold shoes out of their cars. However, in 1966 Nike opened it’s first brick and mortar store and that was no longer a job requirement. Additionally, the very famous Nike swoosh was first used in 1971. Throughout the companies ups and downs, Phil Knight was the chairman until 2015 when he announced he would be stepping down. To keep the family legacy alive, his son Travis Knight will be taking a seat on the board.

Volkswagen

Secondly, we’ll take a look at the German automaker, Volkswagen. The company has been around since the 1930’s, a time when most vehicles being produced were luxury cars. Therefore, the majority of germans were unable to afford vehicles. On the other hand, Volkswagen (with the help of Adolf Hitler) encouraged people to save money every week until they could afford a car. Currently, Volkswagen is the largest automaker in the world and ranked seventh on the Fortune Global 500 list.

Ford

Next, the Ford Motor Company has been around since 1903 and was founded by Henry Ford. The company was the first to introduce large-scale manufacturing for vehicles using assembly lines. Also, Ford has been family run for over 100 years. Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis lead to hard times for the business. But, the company has and continues to make a strong comeback.

Comcast

The Comcast Corporation is widely known for being one of the largest telecommunications company in the world. The Roberts family have had the controlling stake since 1963 when it was known as American Cable Systems. Despite having a reputation for not so stellar customer service, Comcast has continued to grow. In fact, the CEO is one of the highest paid executives in the U.S.

Sales tips for the Startup
by On February 8, 2017
Owning your own business can be extremely rewarding. How many people do you know that wish they were their own boss? On the other hand, it’s not always easy. A lot of work gets put into owning your own business. In addition, marketing your business correctly can lead to financial success. Done incorrectly, and you may feel like you’re throwing money away. If you weren’t born a salesperson, never fear. We’ve compiled a list of sales tips for the startup.

Listening skills

First of all, listening is one of the most important sales tips. Rather than going straight into a sales pitch, let your customer talk. Sometimes, you’ll find that they need something completely different. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Consequently, you’ll be more able to recommend a product that will fit their needs. Plus, this approach is more personal, and customers appreciate that.

Build awareness

Secondly, market your product or business right away. A lot of businesses wait until their product launch day before they do any sort of marketing. Not a good idea! How do you expect to start selling right away if people don’t know anything about your product? If there is no demand, you’ll waste a lot of time and money fixing that. However, marketing campaigns before a product launch will prevent that issue.

Get Social

This section is really two parts. To begin with, take advantage of social networks. Use websites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to make yourself known. In today’s world, people love to shop online and interact online. Talk to your customers and build relationships with them in a digital arena. Things like that don’t go unnoticed and could lead to more referrals and sales. Similarly, connect with peers and local business owners in the real world. Scope out some networking events and meet new people. The more you network, the bigger reach you’ll have for your business. In other words, become a social butterfly.

Don’t Focus on competition 

Additionally, try not to focus on the competition. That energy is better spent on your customers. There is always going to be competition, the important thing is how you handle that. Also, market the benefits of your product, not a comparison. Make sure you highlight the ways that your product will improve your customer’s life. Simply saying that your product is better doesn’t tell the user why.

Measuring success

Lastly, an important tip for startups is making sure you are able to measure the results of your marketing campaigns. If you are marketing your product blindly, there is no way to tell what’s working and what isn’t. If you’re not tracking, you could potentially be wasting money on marketing that doesn’t increase sales. For that reason, implement a way to measure your results. In addition, do some market research by running smaller campaigns. That way if they are unsuccessful you’re not spending a ton of money, but you still learn in the process.
Mind Your Business Manners
by On February 1, 2017
Relationships are the heart of a successful business, and in relationships, manners matter. Business etiquette goes a long way in maintaining existing connections and forming new ones. Traditional etiquette practices are still important today, but digital technology presents new considerations. It doesn’t take long to brush up on your etiquette and learn to mind your business manners.

Conversation balance

As a leader, you have a lot to say, but some people say too much. Not only is finding balance in a conversation polite, but it’s the best way to have a productive discussion. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to dominate the conversation, spending more time talking about themselves than taking an interest in the person across the table. People who habitually dominate a conversation come across as self-absorbed. This is a turnoff for prospective employees, potential clients and current business partners.
The opposite extreme of conversation balance can also be true. Not sharing enough can be just as damaging as talking too much. Leaders who don’t contribute to discussions won’t be able to promote their ideas, share their goals and guide their employees. Their lack of participation can make them seem uninterested or unintelligent. Good conversationalists find the balance between dominance and weakness in a discussion.

Phone attention etiquette 

Communication methods have expanded with technology, and now many business conversations take place online. Business leaders have an obligation to stay connected to their partners, employees and clients. It’s a big responsibility that requires a lot of time and attention, but some people go overboard and come across as impolite. Constantly checking text messages, emails and voicemails is rude and frustrating during a face-to-face interaction. While you’re checking your messages, you’re sending the message that you don’t value the person who is right in front of you. The best practice is to set your phone aside and focus your attention on having a productive conversation in real life.

Online communication

Online communication is standard for every business. In some cases, the only contact you will have with customers is via an Internet platform, whether it’s social media, email or an instant messaging service. Messages should reflect the company’s identity and values across all platforms. Understanding how each different social media application is used will help you have an effective online presence and dodge social media blunders. Since every business has their own standards and policies for online engagement, it’s impossible to set strict rules. There are some general guidelines, however, that are applicable for every business.
Emails should be concise and professional, using correct grammar. They should always include a subject line and a sign-off to keep everything organized and avoid confusion. On social media platforms, it’s important to keep business and personal accounts separate. Monitor them regularly, because consumers expect prompt responses. Late replies or ignored inquiries will be seen as rude. Posts should be short and to the point, with correct punctuation and spelling. When you engage with consumers and business partners over an instant messaging platform, the conversation should be a brief exchange of information. This is best for problems and questions that can be easily resolved.

Etiquette in the little things

Even with the rise of digital communication, traditional etiquette practices continue to be relevant. Make an effort to learn the names of employees and partners at every level. These people are the foundation of your success, and this small gesture will show that you value their support and contribution to your business. Refrain from badmouthing the competition, employees or clients. You never know who is listening, and this can leave a strong negative impression. Sending a personalized thank you note might seem old fashioned, but it’s an easy way to build a positive reputation.
Successful leaders learn to invest in their relationships with partners, employees and consumers. Etiquette is an important part of that. Business etiquette today is built upon traditional practices and adjusted to accommodate digital advancements. Whether you’re building new connections or maintaining old ones, don’t forget to mind your business manners.
Do These Things Before 8 a.m.
by On January 25, 2017

Life can be completely unpredictable. Many say that it’s like a rollercoaster, with lots of ups and downs. How is it possible to move forward with your dreams when we live in a world like that? Working full time can make it seem impossible. But having kids on top of everything else makes following your dreams that much harder. If you don’t consistently take time for self-improvement, a lot of that time will be wasted. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get back lost time. You don’t want to wake up one day and wonder what you did with your life. Make that moment now. Try to do these 8 things before 8 am, and set yourself up for greatness.

Get enough sleep

Most importantly, make sure you are getting enough sleep! Getting enough rest is up there with drinking enough water. Everyone says that it is important, and yet so many people fail to follow this key step. Not only will you be fatigued after an insufficient amount of rest, but continually getting less than 7 hours a night can lead to health problems. On the other hand, 7 or more hours of sleep per night has a lot of great benefits. For example, you can look forward to an increased attention span and memory. Being fully rested can lift your mood, and help you be more creative. You might even save some money on that morning coffee, as you’ll be less likely to crave caffeine. Make an effort to set a designated bedtime, and actually go to sleep when that time comes. Trying to be successful without a good sleep schedule is pointless.

Meditation

Once fully rested, you need to fill yourself with positive thoughts to get your morning going. If you wake up angry, you’re almost certainly going to have a bad day. Whatever your beliefs, try to focus on prayer or meditation. Doing so will make you grateful for everything you have, and ensure that you’re starting your day off on the right foot. People are drawn to the positivity of others.

Get physical

Also, another thing you should be doing before 8 am is exercise. Despite the fact that exercise is extremely beneficial, only about one-third of the American population exercises on a daily basis. Make it a habit to get regular exercise and you’ll see positive changes in your mood, health, and productivity. For instance, go to the gym directly after your meditation session to get your body moving. Caring for your body directly corresponds with caring for your career.

 

Protein Intake

We’ve all heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, the right breakfast will set you up for success. Try to eat at least 30 grams of protein as a part of your morning meal. Foods that are protein rich help keep you full longer. That’s because they take longer to digest than foods like carbohydrates. In fact, protein helps regulate your blood sugar, thus preventing hunger spikes throughout your morning. Also, you’ll notice cravings for bad carbs are decreased. Bad carbs such as donuts or bagels can make you feel sluggish, and you’ll be hungrier a lot earlier on.

Cold Showers

As a person who thoroughly enjoys hot showers, this next idea is a tough one. Although hot showers are nice, sometimes taking a cold shower is the way to go. Interestingly, studies have shown that taking cold showers regularly can help treat depression. The cold water can trigger neurochemicals, which in turn can make you feel happy. Jumping into cold water is the hardest part, but usually, after about 20 seconds your body is used to it. In addition, you’ll notice some other benefits too. Hot water can dry out your skin and hair, but cold water won’t.

Get inspired

A lot of successful people are always on the hunt for more knowledge. But where do they find the time to read, learn, and grow? It’s pretty simple, actually. You can start by listening to audiobooks on the commute to and from work. Many people spend that time listening to the radio when they could be stimulating their brain before the work day has even begun. Also, try reading for half an hour before going to bed. Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of books under your belt.

Goals

You may have set goals for yourself already, and that’s great. However, take the time to write your goals down, long term and short term. Sometimes, the simple act of writing your goals down can help you stick to them. Make an effort to read your list of goals every day. Thinking about your goals will help guarantee that you’re doing things daily to work towards them. Eventually, you’ll reach them and can make even greater goals.

Take action

Lastly, prioritize your daily tasks. Try to tackle the hardest things while you still have the most energy. Otherwise, if you leave the hard stuff for the end of the day, it’ll never get done. Don’t put stuff off any longer than you have to. Jump in and tackle the hard stuff.

A Home Office that Works for You
by On January 18, 2017
Working from home may seem like an ideal situation, but there are many challenges as well. It could be hard to separate home life from work if you do both in the same place. If your space is cluttered, then it’s very likely that your work will be cluttered too. Follow this guide for some ways to make your home office work for you.

Positioning

To start, make sure your computer is in the correct position. If you are constantly looking up or down at a screen it could put a lot of strain on your head or neck. In addition, the position of your chair also matters. Plus, if your chair is uncomfortable it could be hard to focus on what you’re working on. Ergonomic chairs are great for working long hours.

Lighting

Secondly, the lighting in a space can make all the difference in the world. Stay away from the corner of the room, and instead put your desk next to a window. A lot of people say this can improve your mood throughout the day due to exposure to Vitamin D. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and it’s nice to take in the scenery. On the other hand, you shouldn’t rely solely on just natural light. Don’t forget lamps for when it gets darker. Overhead lighting isn’t best for a workspace, consider getting a couple lamps. Most of the time lamps create a nice, warm feel and you can experiment with different styles.

Storage

Also, it’s very important to have an adequate amount of storage in your home office. Nobody wants to work somewhere that is too cluttered. Be creative with your storage solutions, and make the space really your own. Invest in an awesome bookcase, or turn the closet into a system of shelves so it’s not visible. Wall storage is a great option too, as it will keep the mess off your desk.

Personalize 

Think of the things you hate about working in a cubicle, and try to improve upon that idea. It can get depressing working in a space that feels cold and sterile. Add some personal touches, and possibly even rotate items out so you’re constantly inspired by your workspace. Make a corner of the office where you can cuddle up and read when it’s necessary. Many people find that some greenery makes them feel happier. In addition, some people work their best with some good music. Consider investing in a streaming service like Pandora or Spotify.

Supplies

Of course, it’s also important to make sure you have a fully stocked office. Keep all your supplies in the same room where you’ll be working. As a result, you won’t need to get up and leave the room every time you run out of post its, pens, stamps or whatever else you might need. Think about making a kitchen corner. You can get a nice mini fridge if you like to drink a lot of beverages throughout the day. Or, if you need coffee, make a cute little coffee and tea station.